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Thread: Bogus binary star math?

  1. #1
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    Bogus binary star math?

    I have a question regarding the Binary Research Institue's claims that Sol has a binary sibling but they only seem to have got a mention in the 'Planet X' forum here. As I don't have a planet X question I have split it off to ask here.

    For reference the BRI's website can be found here...
    http://www.binaryresearchinstitute.org/index.shtml

    First off I want to get this out of the way...

    Quote Originally Posted by beskeptical
    ... the precise measurements of our solar system's movements and the knowledge astronomers have about how gravity of one body affects the movement of another should mean astronomers can calculate what unseen bodies might be influencing our star's and the Earth's movements from precession to orbit.

    Why would astronomers be able to measure the effect of planets orbiting distant stars and not be able to figure out our own solar system? Yet someone like
    The institute’s founder is Walter W. Cruttenden, a former investment banker, venture capitalist, and founder of E*Offering, an online investment banking firm. He is currently chairman and CEO of Cruttenden Partners LLC.
    could figure out there is a companion star when the best astronomers couldn't? ...
    Okaaay, so you're saying you have to be an established scientist close to the top of your field without any unusual personal beliefs if you are to be able to discover anything new at all - riiight. Common people discovering things? Wow, it's a good job that's never happened before eh? #-o Now stepping away from damn stupid politics, the question...

    When I read the theory presented on that site it seemed to me they were proposing an alternative and seemingly simpler solution to a few known observations rather than claiming the presence of a rogue planet. Can anyone just simply tell me what is wrong with the math supporting their claim of a binary sibling rather than just calling them loonies?

    Thanks.

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    Re: Bogus binary star math?

    Quote Originally Posted by Moosehead
    Quote Originally Posted by beskeptical
    ... the precise measurements of our solar system's movements and the knowledge astronomers have about how gravity of one body affects the movement of another should mean astronomers can calculate what unseen bodies might be influencing our star's and the Earth's movements from precession to orbit.
    Why would astronomers be able to measure the effect of planets orbiting distant stars and not be able to figure out our own solar system? Yet someone like
    The institute’s founder is Walter W. Cruttenden, a former investment banker, venture capitalist, and founder of E*Offering, an online investment banking firm. He is currently chairman and CEO of Cruttenden Partners LLC.
    could figure out there is a companion star when the best astronomers couldn't? ...
    Okaaay, so you're saying you have to be an established scientist close to the top of your field without any unusual personal beliefs if you are to be able to discover anything new at all - riiight. Common people discovering things? Wow, it's a good job that's never happened before eh?
    I cannot read beskeptical's mind, but I think that his point is this: investment banker, venture capitalist, and founder of E*Offering... is not a qualification for astronomy.
    Claims that this guy discovered things that qualified astronomers did not, should be taken with a grain of salt.

    Astronomers discovered Uranus and Neptune because of their influence on the motion of the known planets.
    Astronomers find extra-solar planets because of their influence on their star's motion.

    It is not "common people vs. established scientists": usually there is a good reason for "established" scientists to be "established".
    Would you like to be operated by a surgeon that has no clue about human anatomy?

  3. #3
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    Re: Bogus binary star math?

    Quote Originally Posted by papageno
    Claims that this guy discovered things that qualified astronomers did not, should be taken with a grain of salt.
    I take *all* discoveries with a grain of salt. I check the facts myself rather than just taking some stranger's word for it - no matter how many letters they have after their name - I've been lied to enough not to trust anyone a great deal.

    All I'm asking is that rather than just seeing who is making the claim and stopping there is to actually check the math and tell me what is wrong with that instead. I'm no woo-woo but some very interesting things can be missed when we don't listen to what people say purely based on who or what they are.

    Quote Originally Posted by papageno
    Astronomers discovered Uranus and Neptune because of their influence on the motion of the known planets.
    Astronomers find extra-solar planets because of their influence on their star's motion.

    It is not "common people vs. established scientists": usually there is a good reason for "established" scientists to be "established".
    Would you like to be operated by a surgeon that has no clue about human anatomy?
    And amateur astronomers have discovered what of significance? Diddly squat? Hardly.

  4. #4
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    Re: Bogus binary star math?

    Quote Originally Posted by Moosehead
    All I'm asking is that rather than just seeing who is making the claim and stopping there is to actually check the math and tell me what is wrong with that instead. I'm no woo-woo but some very interesting things can be missed when we don't listen to what people say purely based on who or what they are.
    OTOH, there is only 24 hours in a day.

    Track record needs to be taken into account, if only to spend those precious hours on things that have a chance of being true.

    Or do you sit down and laboriously go through every claim made by every woo woo and fact check it and redo the math?

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    Re: Bogus binary star math?

    Quote Originally Posted by aurora
    OTOH, there is only 24 hours in a day.

    Track record needs to be taken into account, if only to spend those precious hours on things that have a chance of being true.
    Oh, I quite agree. Once someone's proved themselves to be a shameless woo-woo then it's just common sense to ignore them - I haven't heard of the BRI guys before though. Are they well known fruit loops?

    Quote Originally Posted by aurora
    Or do you sit down and laboriously go through every claim made by every woo woo and fact check it and redo the math?
    Well, a common sense filter should be applied first. But after that yes, I do check things carefully as a rule - maybe I do have too much time on my hands *shrugs*. However in the case of the BRI I didn't immediately see anything to put me off reading even if just as a thought exercise.

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    The only calculation given on that page is that of Kepler's 3rd law for binary star systems. There's nothing wrong with the calculation as given, as far as I can see, but it's entirely meaningless. You can throw whatever numbers you want in there and get an answer back, without restriction.

    Edited to add:

    From Cruttenden's one published piece:
    Most scientists will tell you if we were in a binary system we would know it by now. However, if the orbit period were long enough or if the companion were faint enough or if gravity worked a little differently outside the solar system, as proposed by some*, then it is quite possible we would not know our sun has a companion star.
    The period of the orbit isn't much of a factor, since the object would have the largest known parallax, and would therefore stand out pretty readily if it were in the field of view.

    If the object is so faint as to be unseen, it's not a star. They propose either a brown dwarf or a black hole. The black hole would have to be older than the age of the solar system, otherwise there'd be evidence of a very close supernova.

    Any time someone suggests that gravity acts differently beyond the ____, things have to be taken with a grain of salt. This is a hot topic for debate at the moment, i.e. dark matter, and is therefore controvercial. More importantly, though, there's no evidence to suggest that gravity's effects change at some magical boundry around the sun. Moreover, if gravity did change like that, then it would throw off the arguments made on that website.

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    Extrasolar planet research teams thought at one time they had found the missing mass/gravity in the form of a dark, 3 jupiter mass gas giant.

    http://www.extrasolar.net/planettour...p;PlanetID=101

    This discovery has since been downgraded to 'Doubtful' as no amount of visual or IR telescope searching as yeilded any confirmation.

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    Re: Bogus binary star math?

    Quote Originally Posted by Moosehead
    When I read the theory presented on that site it seemed to me they were proposing an alternative and seemingly simpler solution to a few known observations rather than claiming the presence of a rogue planet. Can anyone just simply tell me what is wrong with the math supporting their claim of a binary sibling rather than just calling them loonies?

    Thanks.
    Okay. The BRI site claims that attributing theprecession of the Earth's axis to lunar and solar pertubation on the nonspherical mass distribution of the Earth is wrong, and that this conventional explanation requires us to introduce something (namely torque on the Earth's nonspherical component) not otherwise observed. However, this same nonspherical component (largely the equatorial bulge, more exactly one of the spherical harmonic components J; I think it's J2) is what makes the orbits of satellites precess in their planes over time. Satellite orbits' planes do precess about the Earth in an inertial frame; in fact the behavior of this precession with inclination to the equator is an important partof how certain astronomy and reconnaissance missions are designed. In this light, there's not much left to seeka new explanation for.

    The Moon is far enough away for perturbations on its orbit by the Sun to be the main effect, so the 18.6-year Saros cycle does not connect to the same phenomenon as low-orbiting satellites, for which angular precession per orbit scales with 1/R.

  9. #9
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    The credentials of a person are important in different ways that depend on who you are.
    1) If you are another person with appropriate training then you will expect to be able to follow the data and calculations of the person making the claims.

    2) If you are a lay person w.r.t. the topic, you need to have some way to judge that person's credibility in making such claims.

    In this case I would be in the latter camp. I could be given the complete set of data and a full print out of all calculations that Cruttenden worked out and it might as well be Homer's complete works in the original Greek. I would not be able to say if it was gold or shinola. Indeed when I look at the page regarding the calculations I can't know if it makes sense or not.

    I therefore need to know if Cruttenden has any training which suggests that he would be able to do the work he says he has done. Certainly, being, "a former investment banker, venture capitalist, and founder of E*Offering, an online investment banking firm" has no relavence to this matter. If Cruttenden has been an amatuer astronomer since he was a young lad and kept abreast of astronomical advances then that should be stated as it has a great deal more relavence than any financial wizardry he can lay claim to. Indeed all those amatuers who have made discoveries are astronomers. They just don't do it for a living. Being astronomers they could give a list of books they have read about astronomy and the observations they have made and kept a journal of and the numbers of hours they have put into their amateur hobby.

    However in the "About us" page, where such credentials should be listed all we get is Cruttenden's financial background. On the page "People" we get a little more,"Walter Cruttenden
    Walter Cruttenden is the founder of the Binary Research Institute (BRI); an archeoastronomy think tank focused on celestial knowledge of ancient civilizations, with an emphasis on precession mechanics. Based on this research Cruttenden has put forth the "Binary Model" to better explain the Precession of the Equinox, the little- understood, third motion of the Earth.

    Cruttenden has had a life long interest in the science of archeoastronomy, mythology and esoteric teachings. Prior to founding BRI, he was in the investment banking business and one of the largest providers of IPO and private financing to science and technology companies in the under $100 million market cap range. He sold his banking interests to Fidelity and E*Trade and now devotes fulltime to BRI.
    ". So he has a lifelong interest in 'archeoastronomy' noun
    astronomy of prehistoric and ancient cultures: the study of the astronomical beliefs, practices, and discoveries of prehistoric and ancient cultures .

    The rest of the people listed have absolutly no qualifications listed at all in the area of astronomy!

    All this sets off alarm bells for me. At best it is suspicious, at worst there is a fraud afoot.

  10. #10
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    Moose
    When I read these posts, especially from someone I am not gamiliar with, I have to use whatever evidence there may be to make an evaluation. I gotts tell you that you lose credibility in my eyes when you accuse people of damned stupid politics but use damned stupid sarcasm to make your point. Sneering at people does not make your points any stronger.

    And as to your objection, many discoveries have been made by amateurs. Largely these are discoveries due to diligence - they kept at it and spotted something. The case at hand however is not one of simply spotting something, it is related to the Neptune thing. If we posit the existence of a star, we should be able to calculate its position by careful measurement of the motions of solar system objects, we would then verify it through observation. This is not just tons of viewing with fortuitous spotting.

    As far as I can tell these claims are the result of thought experiments.

    Beskep did not say "you have to be an established scientist close to the top of your field without any unusual personal beliefs if you are to be able to discover anything new at allyou have to be an established scientist close to the top of your field without any unusual personal beliefs if you are to be able to discover anything new at all," That is an inference you added. Then sarcastically criticized him for it.

    What he said was that career astronomers who study solar motion carefully enough to detect planets around other stars cannot detect evidence right here of any companion star for the sun, yet this guy who does none of those things can.

    If you discover a new comet, we can all then look at it and verify its existence. If you claim something exists yet no one can replicate your findings to confirm it, then your claim is suspect.

  11. #11
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    Amusing side note. This is the Walter Cruttenden who, along with the BA, is one of James McCanney's top hate figures (see PX thread: Speaking of desperate...)

    McCanney and Mark Hazlewood at one point started a little team to discredit Cruttenden as a government disinfo agent (though how one of McCanney's incoherent and illucid rants could do that is beyond me), but sadly the Hazlewood post to GLP on this matter was lost in their disaster last year.

    Anyway, this does nothing to validate Cruttenden's stuff, which is barely warmed over 'Nemesis revisited' with a bit of Niburu thrown in, but he does seem somewhat more rational than them other guys...

  12. #12
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    Not to disrespect anybodys title or esteemed credibility...

    But cosmology and astronomy are in themselves woo woo sciences. <me ducks>

    Modern astronomy can't agree on the distance and nature of the closest stars. As far as I can tell, Cluster distances are still mostly a guess, and galaxy distances are flat out guesses. Having said that, they are based on actual observation. Planet X and mysterious companion stars are based on... pure unadulterated fantasy, as far as I can tell.

    Cosmology is even worse. Cosmology is little more than an ongoing flame war. For example, is is dogma that all the galaxies are moving away from each other... Well except for hundreds of galaxies in the local group which are headed for a collision somewhere in the great attractor which is the most massive thing yet observed.... but there is nothing there...

    Until 7-8 years ago, it was astronomy/cosmology dogma that the galaxies were slowing down... That is until a bunch of observations were made that suggest they are actually speeding up... In another case, which may just be a fluke, but it may not, there is a huge gaping hole in the data in the Hubble Ultra deep field. It goes on and on like this, as it should.

    There are no answers here only best guesses, that is why it is still an interesting area of amature research. The mystery of it all. Very little of astronomy or cosmology dogma even amounts to theory status.

    The unknowns vastly outweight the knowns in astronomy and cosmology. This is why amature astronomers are still doing good science, and making discoveries. If you want to beleive in Planet X or whatever, dont let anyone tell you that it doesnt exist. Better yet, start building your telescope and be the first to find it. With diligance I bet you can find a previously undiscovered comet and get it named after you. If you find Planet X, hats off dude, you are gonna be right up there with Newton, Einstein, and Armstrong the the history books, as the guy who caused a total rethink of the science.

  13. #13
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    Re: Bogus binary star math?

    Quote Originally Posted by Moosehead
    And amateur astronomers have discovered what of significance? Diddly squat? Hardly.
    I don't quite understand what you mean.
    I do not consider amateur astronomers as unqualified in astronomy.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by DoktorGreg
    Not to disrespect anybodys title or esteemed credibility...

    But cosmology and astronomy are in themselves woo woo sciences. <me ducks>
    Nope. Not unless you redefine woo-woo. As you actually say later, they're based on actual observation. And so is physics, on which they are ultimately based. And that's based on experiment too.

    Quote Originally Posted by DoktorGreg
    Modern astronomy can't agree on the distance and nature of the closest stars.
    Nope. Distance agreement to known close stars is to at least 1 decimal place out to about 12ly. Have you ever heard of error bars? Just because there is, say a 1% uncertainty, doesn't mean we are saying nothing real and that there is a big controversy going on.

    We have a good idea of the nature of the known stars, while acknowledging that there may be a number of dimmer stars, brown dwarfs and maybe even free planets in the neighbourhood. To say that there are objects that our instruments haven't found yet out there is not to say that we cannot agree on their nature. We cannot disagree either, because we haven't observed them - yet. And our instruments are improving all the time.

    Quote Originally Posted by DoktorGreg
    As far as I can tell, Cluster distances are still mostly a guess
    Nope. For closer clusters, parallax operates. And for both those and further clusters distance can be estimated based on astrophysics. This is not 'a guess' but it is, once again, subject to uncertainty. Error bars do not imply guesswork.

    Quote Originally Posted by DoktorGreg
    and galaxy distances are flat out guesses.
    Nope. You may want to disagree with the Standard Model of astrophysics (Feel free, but you're going to have to defend your position fiercely), but basing distance measurements of stars, clusters and galaxies on this model is not guesswork. It is, however, subject to uncertainties - which are acknowledged by astrophysicists.

    Quote Originally Posted by DoktorGreg
    Having said that, they are based on actual observation.
    And physics (meaning experiment, too). But something we agree on.

    Quote Originally Posted by DoktorGreg
    Planet X and mysterious companion stars are based on... pure unadulterated fantasy, as far as I can tell.
    The woo-woo versions certainly are. But right now there is nothing that rules out additional planets way way out there - a companion star is very unlikely, but we can't rule out brown dwarfs either. This is not fantasy, it is simply to say that some things can't be ruled out. No-one predicted Sedna, after all.

    Quote Originally Posted by DoktorGreg
    Cosmology is even worse.
    I'll leave you at this point, since I am somewhat dubious about the state of cosmology right now, particularly since it is being argued that the WMAP results may be flawed - so my heart's not in it. Maybe someone else will take up the cudgels.

    But when it comes to local issues, out to a few hundred million light years, I'd say we're on pretty solid ground and getting better all the time.

    Which is not the same as saying we know it all...

  15. #15
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    Hello, I am Silbury, I found this site as I was looking for Walter Cruttenden's credentials as an astronomer as last year he was just an author who was a multimillionaire who created a conference with highly renowned researchers and professors who have many credentials in their flied of profession.

    I realized he created the venue and placed himself inside the body of authors who have be renown for alternative theories, but Walter Cruttenden is new to the scene. He wrote a book and used this conference as a method to market himself it seemed by means of surrounding himself with other authors. Now this year there are announcements going around that he is

    "amateur theoretical archaeo-astronomer and author of the binary theory of precession."

    "archaeoastronomer Walter Cruttenden, author of Lost Star of Myth and Time."

    Now, I had always wondered how an amateur astronomer could make such claims as a bi-nary system, when our really well versed and educated astronomers that work for NASA , Hubble and the likes have never detected a presence or field of which Walter speaks of and that all of the equipment sent up to space has never detected any fields in regards to a second sun? He has gone from an unknown author to an astronomer now in one year when he was only known before for his banking. He did this by sponsoring a lecture he paid for himself and surrounded himself with renown authors as if he hangs out with them and he is one of the boys..... But he now advertises himself first as an "amateur theoretical archaeo-astronomer " to a sudden "archaeoastronomer " who has solved the mysteries of precession?

    In that scenario that leaves room for just about any one to write a book, and if they have enough money create a venue and invite renown researchers and professors and surround them selves with them to make it look as if they are credible. My concern is this: If some one isn't educated enough to realize that some of what he writes is totally off the wall, and they take it as truth, they are being mislead and in the mean time this person associates himself with other authors and changes his title as freely as he chooses. So that is how I found this forum as I have met the man myself and he is not that of which he tries to project to the public. He is a banker, not an astronomer. I can not say I am a medical doctor because I have read Gray's anatomy or dissected a frog. This is wrong I think to do and it is misleading to the general public. I feel that people like him hurt other authors that do have credentials. It must also be known that just because other authors are speaking at CPAK 2006 and have in the past does not mean they endorse his theory, they are only presenting their findings in their own personal field of research; but he promotes them as if they are endorsing his theory and that is why they are attending and speaking at the conference. Does any one understand what I am getting at? I feel this is wrong to do and if this continues, any one can call them self anything and get by with it because no one will take the time to follow up on scientific academic credentials.

    Thank you, any one for a comment? I feel his work is very bogus and if anything should be promoted as a Ray Bradbury novel. No, I have not read the book, I have only been associated with some of the speakers that have spoken at the conferences he creates and are disappointed and upset with his demeanor and his methods of using the speakers to endorse his theories because they have degrees and he does not. I was also sent papers and links to his site from him to post on my site and when I started reading his work, I canned it. I think this is very unethical.

    I have not posted here before, but found this forum because I was looking for credentials on him that are scientific and academic, so far I have found none. Has any one else found any credentials on him that enables him to call himself an astronomer? That would be just like me calling myself an astronomer because I have interest in the field. But, I only took a class in it and studied privately through reading books but I am educated enough to know that when some one comes out with book like this, that makes hard claims when even our own scientists have not found what he is talking about, there is something wrong. I could call myself an amateur medical doctor because I have red many papers in medical journals and have experimented on myself. I hope these comments and questions I am asking are making sense. I am not use to posting my thoughts as such.
    Thank you.
    Silbury.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silbury
    In that scenario that leaves room for just about any one to write a book
    Just about anyone can write a book (I've written a couple). Also, just about anyone can refer to himself as any category of researcher they want. So this guy writes a book, and describes himself as a type of astronomer. Some small number of people may buy his book, and believe it, but most people like you will conclude that his work doesn't agree with reality.
    Forming opinions as we speak

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    OK, thank you

    Yes, thank you, I realize any one can write a book, I publish many articles and do many things my self and write, but, I do not make hard claims and go out on a lecture circus to show myself to others as I am really not.

    I have heard some pretty bad stuff, so , I do get wound up when I start getting emails and propaganda concerning his book, when I know first hand that on the inside of the marketing he creates himself as a character who has solved the mysteries of the unexplainable and should be held in high esteem by paying for a conference himself and hiring speakers to speak, then changing the venue on them and basically forcing them to sign a release because this "conference" has turned into a "film project" that he has sole rights to as he wrote in the contract, "forever and always through out the Universe..." stripping away the rights of the speakers-- ( this was last year) The last 2 weeks before they were do to appear a mysterious release was sent through emails I was to review for legal reasons. I had to rewrite and there was going to be a boycott of the speakers. So, I know something is up and it is all happening again.

    I am glad to know someone has their lights on. "amateur astronomer " to "amateur theoretical archaeo-astronomer " to "archaeoastronomer ." Impersonation is an offense.

    It is fine to a write book and tell the truth about your self, "amateur astronomer" I can live with- that defines the nature of his interest and the degree of which he qualifies -- as amateur -- but his other growing titles are on the verge now of false impersonation of one with proper accreditations. It would NOT hold up in the Court of Law, his character would be questioned and he would be hung by the jury.

    Well thank you.

    Silbury

    edited by antoniseb as per Silbury's request below.

  18. #18
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    Edit - I do not know how

    I would like to edit my statemant as I left a word out, and I do not know how to edit it. Here is the correct statement.

    "It would NOT hold up in the Court of Law, his character would be questioned and he would be hung by the jury."

    OK, thanks

    S.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by DoktorGreg
    Not to disrespect anybodys title or esteemed credibility...

    But cosmology and astronomy are in themselves woo woo sciences. <me ducks>

    Modern astronomy can't agree on the distance and nature of the closest stars. As far as I can tell, Cluster distances are still mostly a guess, and galaxy distances are flat out guesses. Having said that, they are based on actual observation. Planet X and mysterious companion stars are based on... pure unadulterated fantasy, as far as I can tell.
    (bolding mine)
    Hmmm.... As far as you can tell? Did you even try to tell? Or did you just decide these things, without checking in any way how distances to nearby stars, clusters and galaxies are measured? For example Parallax ,Standard candles, Redshift and Pulse dispersion(that last paper isn't actually on the topic but mentions how it works in the intro)
    As Grand Vizier pointed out, no measurement will be perfect, and to pretend otherwise is ridiculous. I have a lot more confidence in the astronomer who says "that star is 100 light years away, give or take 2" than the carpenters apprentice who says "Yep. The plank's 1.6235m long."

    Cosmology is even worse. Cosmology is little more than an ongoing flame war. For example, is is dogma that all the galaxies are moving away from each other... Well except for hundreds of galaxies in the local group which are headed for a collision somewhere in the great attractor which is the most massive thing yet observed.... but there is nothing there...

    Until 7-8 years ago, it was astronomy/cosmology dogma that the galaxies were slowing down... That is until a bunch of observations were made that suggest they are actually speeding up... In another case, which may just be a fluke, but it may not, there is a huge gaping hole in the data in the Hubble Ultra deep field. It goes on and on like this, as it should.

    There are no answers here only best guesses, that is why it is still an interesting area of amature research. The mystery of it all. Very little of astronomy or cosmology dogma even amounts to theory status.

    The unknowns vastly outweight the knowns in astronomy and cosmology. This is why amature astronomers are still doing good science, and making discoveries. If you want to beleive in Planet X or whatever, dont let anyone tell you that it doesnt exist. Better yet, start building your telescope and be the first to find it. With diligance I bet you can find a previously undiscovered comet and get it named after you. If you find Planet X, hats off dude, you are gonna be right up there with Newton, Einstein, and Armstrong the the history books, as the guy who caused a total rethink of the science.
    No. We don't do dogma. What we have instead is: this is how we think the universe works at the moment. Check back tomorrow, and we might have something better. That's how all science works.

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